Fake outrage: FISH-NL accuses FFAW of hypocrisy over new snow crab management strategy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, Nov. 23rd, 2018

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) accuses the FFAW-Unifor of hypocrisy for its outrage over Ottawa’s lack of consultation on a new snow crab management strategy, when the union has been involved for years.

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“The FFAW said it was blindsided, but that’s simply not the case,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The union is speaking from both sides of its mouth.”

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) held meetings earlier this week in St. John’s, Clarenville, and Gander to consult inshore harvesters on a proposed new management strategy for snow crab. The so-called Precautionary Approach includes stock status zones such as critical, cautious and healthy, as well as reference points and harvesters control rules. 

A huge contingent of FFAW-Unifor executive members slammed DFO at the public meetings for blindsiding inshore harvesters, accusing the department of bringing them into the discussion at a “late stage.”

But an October DFO report — Basis for A Precautionary Approach and Decision Making Framework for the Newfoundland and Labrador Snow Crab Fishery — noted that a “working group” had been created in 2012 to address the implementation of the new management approach.

That working group consisted of members of DFO science and management, as well as fishing industry representatives. 

DFO scientist Darrell Mullowney — one of the authors of the report — confirmed earlier this week in Gander that industry representatives included Derek Butler of the Association of Seafood Producers, and Erin Carrothers, an FFAW staff scientist. 

“The FFAW has known about the Precautionary Approach for six years, and its outrage would appear to be fake,” said Cleary. “The union must explain itself to inshore harvesters.”

FISH-NL is against the implementation of the Precautionary Approach in the snow crab fishery, saying harvesters should settle for nothing less than an ecosystem approach to fisheries management that includes the impact of seismic testing and an unchecked harp seal population. 

Despite overwhelming opposition by harvesters to the new Precautionary approach, DFO has said it will proceed with the creation of a second “working group” to push the plan forward on the snow crab industry.

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Contact Ryan Cleary: 682 4862